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Actress Scarlett Johansson was among the stars to warm up the crowd before President Obama's speech.
Scarlett Johansson and Kerry Washington headlined a bevy of stars — ranging from Mary J. Blige to Eva Longoria — at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, each making a plea to voters to re-elect President Barack Obama ahead of his capstone speech.
Actresses Johansson and Washington implored young Americans to vote in November.
“I speak to you not as a representative of young Hollywood, but as a representative of the many millions of young Americans, particularly young women, who depend on public and nonprofit programs to help them survive,” Johansson said, before describing a modest childhood aided by public programs.
“In 2008, less than half of all eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted,” she continued. “Young America, why are we only speaking with half our voice when so many issues at stake directly affect us?”
Washington told Americans that they have too much at stake to stay away from the voting booth.
“Today there are people out there trying to take away rights that our mothers, our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers fought for … our right to vote, our right to choose, our right to affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care” she said. “And we the people can’t let that happen.”
Longoria, who has campaigned for Obama across the country, told the crowd that Mitt Romney would raise taxes on the middle-class "to cut his own and mine."
"And that's not who we are as a nation, and let me tell you why," she continued. "Because the Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy's flipping burgers, she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not."
The outpouring of celebrities as part of the convention last night was seen by some as a counter to Clint Eastwood's surprise appearance at last week's Republican National Convention, but Longoria said her appearance was much different.
The actress discussed her role on the "Today" show this morning.
Eastwood "had a different narrative,’’ Longoria told "Today." “Everyone keeps comparing us because we’re both from the entertainment industry, but I’m a co-chair for the campaign. I’m on the ground, I’ve been in swing states, I’ve been talking to the American people, I’ve been out there speaking on behalf of Obama’s record, I’ve been in the trenches. My narrative tonight with my speech and what I’m going to tell the American people is very different than what Clint did. No empty chair."
Also sprinkled in among the speakers was enough talent for a small music festival, with performances by the Foo Fighters, James Taylor, Marc Anthony, who sang the National Anthem, and Mary J. Blige, who whipped up a convention dance party with her hit "Family Affair.”
The stars have been out all week to show their support for Obama, as Jeff Bridges and his band, The Abiders, performing. Also spotted in and around the convention this week have been Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Russell Simmons, Wayne "Newman!" Knight, Perez Hilton, John Leguizamo, Jermaine Dupri, Common and Will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas.